Are you looking for ways to increase gender-inclusive language in your Spanish class? Looking for ways to expand your classroom’s vocabulary and to create a safe space for all children through the use of non-binary pronouns such as “elle,” “nosotres,” and “vosotres”? You’ve come to the right place! Below you’ll find instructional material, freebies, and videos to help you on your journey!
I. Spanish and the Default Male 🙋🏼♂️
The case for fostering gender-inclusive language in the Spanish language has been a long battle. Within the Romance language family, many of its languages are notorious for their highly gendered grammatical system. Additionally, the default or “neutral” form is usually the masculine form, leaving no space for recognizing women or those who do not conform to standard gender conventions. I’ll always remember, on a major standardized test in high school, I got this question: There are 800 women. One male joins the group. Is the group “ellos” or “ellas”? While I got the answer right, I thought it was absurd that even a baby boy could potentially make almost a group of 1K women masculine.
The Spanish language inherently conveys gender bias in its usage. And there are various expressions, anecdotes, and case studies where the masculine form of a Spanish word is considered positive, while the feminine form has a negative connotation, thus reinforcing ideas that the language (and the linguistics that govern its systems) are sexists.
II. “Elle” and other forms 🏳️🌈
“Elle” is a non-binary form that translates to the contemporary usage of “they” in English. In the video below, I dive a bit into the history “Elle” and other non-binary forms. Please observe that in the video, I do also note that “Elle” is not officially a part of the Spanish dictionary, according to the RAE.es, the governing body over Spanish linguistic matters. However, its use is rising, as you can see in this survey of online usage of “Elle.”
You might wonder why or how a pronoun could be so significant. Language plays a huge role in how we identify ourselves and others. And sadly, negative environments can contribute to young bisexual, gay, and transgendered teens committing suicide at rates that are 2x that of their peers (CDC.gov):
“A study of youth in grades 7-12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Some risk factors are linked to being gay or bisexual in a hostile environment and the effects that this has on mental health.”–CDC.gov
It is my humble opinion that I should be the teacher who doesn’t judge, but rather the teacher who accepts a student for who they are and gives them a safe space to exist. This is why this project is so important to me.
Below you’ll find several resources. First, I made a variety of *FREE* posters to teach gender-inclusive subject pronouns. DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE FILES HERE ⬇️
Next, check out my video, walking through a resource you can use in the classroom to teach about pronouns ⬇️
Additionally, I include my “WHY” behind doing this work ⬇️
And if you’re interested in more resources for the classroom, check out these links below:
- Introducing Gender Inclusive Pronouns in Spanish | Pear Deck
- Introducing Gender Inclusive Pronouns in Spanish Poster
Here are some other helpful resources for continued learning:
- https://rcs.msu.edu/inclusive-language-and-social-justice-resources/ (click on Spanish resources)
I hope you find these resources helpful in creating a more inclusive Spanish classroom & a safe space for students. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
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